Archive for the ‘Dollar Coin’ Category

The Story of Change- No not President Obama, I’m talking about money here!

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

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The story of American money started more than three centuries ago. Before this, settlers mostly bartered goods for goods. Crops like tobacco and corn and pork and butter were widely used. Learning from the Native Americans who used stringed clamshell beads, or wampum, European colonists adopted the wampum among trades with the Native Americans and then, amongst themselves.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony contracted John Hull to begin minting coins. Hull set up a mint in Boston and began producing “NE” (New England) coins in 1652. The NE coins were very easy to counterfeit, only having NE on one side and XII on the other. The coin was redesigned from 1667-1682. Eventually as more and more people came to the New World and brought their money with them, the settlers and colonists relied on foreign money for buying and selling. Money from Europe, Mexico and South America could be found at any given time. These coins mixed in with the NE coins and wampum and were all used for purchasing, barter and trade.

Early in the 18th century, a large amount of copper coins were imported from England and Ireland for the purpose of making more coins for the colonies. In 1776, dollar-sized coins were produced with a sundial and the inscription “Mind Your Business” on the front and “American Congress We Are One” on the back. These pieces were struck in three different metals; those struck in pewter are scarce or rare, while the silver and brass examples as extremely rare. The Articles of Confederation, adopted on July 9, 1778, gave Congress the ability to place the value on the coins that were struck by each state. At that time, the states each had the right to strike their own coins, there was just no fluidity in their values until the Articles came about.

Finally in 1792 the U.S. Mint was established by Congress. The U.S. Mint makes all U.S. Coins and became an operating bureau of the Treasury Department in 1873. To this day, U.S. coins typically have a mint mark showing which mint it was produced by. The Philadelphia Mint has been the longest in continuous operation, since 1792. The Denver Mint began coin producing in 1906. The newest mints were the West Point, New York, and San Francisco which gained official status in 1988.

From 1965-1968 there were no identifications used to tell where coins were minted. In 1968 the mints resumed putting their initials on the coins. Coins minted in Philadelphia had a P or no letter, Denver has a D, West Point a W and S for San Francisco. To this day, look at your coins and right under the date there should be a letter telling you where that coin was minted and if no letter is present, your coin was minted in Philadelphia!

Coins’ designs and values have changed over the years from the half-penny to silver dollars. The designs will continue to change as society deems it necessary . For now, the coins in your pocket have come a long way to get there because there was a time when there was a lack of United States coins.

Dollar Bill versus Dollar Coin

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

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dollar bill versus dollar coinThe United States Mint has made several attempts to introduce a coin which would replace the dollar bill. Each time, the end result has been mass production of coins which end up stored in vaults due to lack of demand. Many other countries, including Australia and our neighbor Canada, have replaced their “dollar bill” with a coin version. So why do Americans prefer the bill over the coin so much?

The U.S. Mint pumps out 3.4 billion fresh single dollar bills each year. The truth is, dollar bills wear out in about 18 months while the coins last approximately 30 years. While each coin is more expensive to produce than a bill, the difference in time spent in circulation would mean the overall cost of having a dollar coin instead of a bill over time would be much lower. With this huge of a difference, wouldn’t it be more economical as a nation to utilize the coins? In 2002, the Government Accountability Office stated that our nation could save $500 million a year in production costs if we switched to coins instead of bills. Given the fact that taxpayers could save several hundred million dollars per year just by implementing the dollar coin and phasing out the dollar bill, wouldn’t the appeal to everyone? So just exactly how much is it worth to be able to have a dollar bill instead of a dollar coin?

The many advantages of a dollar coin are not only from a tax savings perspective. Vending machines would be more accessible as individuals are more likely to put coins in a machine instead of dig out a dollar bill. Coins are better for the environment than bills. Less paper is used to print them, the last longer than bills, and less energy is spent producing them. Coins are also easier than bills to count than bills since they don’t stick together and they can be weighed, whereas the bill cannot. Coins are also healthier than bills. Since they aren’t fibrous like the bill, they don’t absorb as many germs or dirt. Coins are washable by simply running under soap and water, but bills are much more difficult to clean without risking damage to the bill.

Current complaints regarding the dollar coin are that it is too close in size to a quarter. People also do not like the added weight in their pockets compared to a dollar bill. Since paper money can be folded and shaped to fit nearly anywhere, it is easier to carry than the coin. Other disadvantages would include the upgrades required to implement the new coins.  Many cash registers and the aforementioned vending mentions would all require equipment upgrades in order to be able to accept the new dollar coin. Counterfeiting is much easier to regulate with bills than coins since new technology allows for special inks, watermarks, and paper. Coins are much easier to counterfeit, therefore, perhaps a savings in created in the form of economic stability.

All in all, there are both advantages and disadvantages to each form of money. However, given our nation’s current financial struggles, the American people may begin to push for every dollar savings they can which could result in a look at the bottom line. In addition, as the “Green Initiative” spreads, the idea of the coin may go further from an environmental perspective. Yet, the fact remains, many attempts have been made to implement a dollar coin into circulation without success. Americans are just hesitant to adopt this new standard and it could remain a difficult sell. Only time will tell what the future of our money looks like. 

The Presidents on United States Currency

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

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The decision as to which United States President graces the designs on the dollar bill is determined by thedollar tree United States Congress. United States Presidents have appeared on official banknotes, coins for circulation and commemorative coins in the United States as well as all around the world. Even throughout phases of redesigns, although there were significant changes in fabrication, the presidents which are depicted on the currency remained the same.

Currently, images of presidents that are struck on United States coins are Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th U.S. President for the penny, Thomas Jefferson who was the 3rd U.S. President for the Nickel, Franklin D Roosevelt who was the 32nd U.S. President for the Dime, George Washington who was the 1st U.S. President for the Quarter, John F Kennedy who was the 35th U.S. President for the Half Dollar, and Dwight D Eisenhower for the one dollar coin, although one dollar coins depicting President Eisenhower was ceased in 1978. Susan B Anthony and Sacagawea, both significant historical figures, currently grace United States one dollar coins.

The names of the presidents depicted on the United States paper currency are George Washington who was the 1st U.S. President for the one dollar bill, Thomas Jefferson who was the 3rd U.S. President for the two dollar bill, Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th U.S. President for the five dollar bill, Andrew Jackson who was the 7th U.S. President for the twenty dollar bill, Ulysses S Grant who was the 18th U.S. President for the fifty dollar bill, and Benjamin Franklin on the one hundred dollar bill. Note that Benjamin Franklin was not a President of the United States, although he was a very prominent figure in its history.

Other presidents that were featured are William McKinley who was the 25th U.S. President on the five hundred dollar bill, Grover Cleveland who was the 22nd and 24th U.S. President on the one thousand dollar bill, James Madison who was the 4th U.S. President on the five thousand dollar bill, and Woodrow Wilson who was the 25th U.S. President on the one hundred thousand dollar bill. Salmon P Chase, depicted on the ten thousand dollar bill, was a former Secretary of the Treasury and was the only non-president that was depicted in the larger denominations of the United States currency. All of these notes, however, are now considered obsolete and are no longer in circulation.

Recently, the Presidential Dollar Coin Program was passed by congress and former presidents will be honored if their death is two or more years before the intended issue date of these coins. Presidents that will grace these coins to date, in sequential order, are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford,  and Ronald Reagan. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush may be depicted as well if they meet the requirement above.

The Canadian Dollar

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

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The Canadian Dollar, like its name suggests, is the major currency of Canada. To tell it apart from other the canadian dollardollar denominated currencies around the world, the Canadian dollar adopted the letter ‘C’ in front of its dollar ($) sign. Currently, the Canadian Dollar is amongst the top-ten most traded currency in the world.

Dating back to 1858, the first Canadian coins which was struck in 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, and 20 cent denominations, were issued by the Province of Canada. Other coin denominations like 50 cents, 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 5 dollars, and 10 dollars were issued much later to meet the public demand. Canadian Coins are minted and produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. The facility is located  in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and currently issues coins in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, 1 dollar, and 2 dollars. These coins are also called, in respective order, a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter, 50¢ piece, a loony, and a toonie.

The designs on the reverse and obverse side of these coins also usually revolves around Canadian symbols, like wildlife and the effigy of Queen Elizabeth the Second, although some pennies and dimes of the yesteryears, which are still in circulation, carries the image of King George the Sixth.

Issued between 1813 and 1815, largely due to the War of 1812 where it was used during the emergency, the first form of paper money issued in Canada were the British Army Bills. These were denominated between 1 and 400 dollars. The first banknotes, however, were issued in 1817 by the Bank of Montreal. Other chartered banks around the country also followed suit thereafter and began issuing these notes for several decades to come. Prior to the year 1858, many notes were issued in currencies like shillings, pounds and dollars, resulting in varied denominations such as 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 3 dollars, 4 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 25 dollars, 40 dollars, 50 dollars, 100 dollars, 500 dollars, and 1000 dollars. This ceased after 1858 though, and only dollar denominations were used from then on.

the canadian dollar2The Province of Canada began issuing paper money beginning 1841, and these notes were produced for the government by the Bank of Montreal between 1842 and 1862. The notes were issued in denominations of 4 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 50 dollars, and 100 dollars. The Province of Canada began officially issuing its own paper money in 1866, and these came in denominations of 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 50 dollars, 100 dollars, and 500 dollars. After the year 1896, denominations of 500 dollars, 1000 dollars, 5000 dollars, and 50,000 dollars were issued and used for bank transactions only.

In 1935, the Bank of Canada was founded and began issuing notes in denominations of 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 50 dollars, 100 dollars, and 500 dollars, and 1000 dollars, officially ceasing the currency issuing operation of the chartered banks in 1944. As part of the fight against money laundering and organized crime, in the year 2000, the Bank of Canada stopped issuing 1000 dollar notes and began withdrawing them from general circulation.

To date, Canadian dollar banknotes issued by the Bank of Canada remains of legal tender in Canada. Just as American Dollars are accepted by many Canadian merchants and businesses in cities which are near the American/Canadian border, the Canadian Dollars are also accepted by some businesses in the northernmost cities of the United States.

The American Silver Dollar

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

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The real inspiration for the United States silver dollar probably came from a Spanish coin. This Spanish coin was made out of silver, a very rare commodity at that time and the coin consist nearly an ounce of it. This gave rise to the name Spanish dollar by the American colonists, which further charioted fame to the silver coin.

First minted in the year 1794, the United States silver dollar was proposed by and voted in by the United States congress to be used as the main form of United States currency. The United States silver dollar was american silver dollaralso duly used along side the Spanish dollar well after the American Revolutionary War ended. The United States Mint continued producing these silver dollars up to the year 1803, but the minting of the silver dollar was ceased for almost 30 years due to the shortage of the precious metal. Then in 1836, during the period of the Old American West, the silver dollar made its comeback into the American currency system and began gaining a reputation as one of the most preferred currency of that time .

The reason why the populace of the Old American West favored the silver dollar to paper currency bills is because they felt that due to the value of the precious metal at that time, the coins proved to be more valuable simply because it was made of silver, which was a very rare and expensive commodity. Because of this, the silver dollar remained amongst the major and most used United States currency until the late eighteen hundreds, coming only second to the United States gold coins, for obvious reasons, one being that gold has always been far more valuable than silver.

The United States silver dollar was also very important to the various communities of the American West, especially for the people who enjoyed going to the saloons or better known as bars today, as they could finally have a fair exchange for a drink instead of being shortchanged by the bartender, through the unspecified amount of gold dust they receive in return. Silver coins were also highly treasured by gamblers, river boat travelers, even traders, as well as by those purchasing goods from the local mercantile, as it more practical and it eases the exchange of goods for fixed amounts of money. It was said that many famous personas from the old west carry the silver dollar, characters including Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Buffalo Bill Cody and Geronimo. It was also said that many rouge guns slinger of wild west would sometimes melt these silver coins and turn them into bullets!

american silver dollarIn the Old West the silver dollar was worth far more than a dollar is today. People were able to buy shoes or other clothing items for a dollar, and it was a bargain compared to what a pair of shoes or pants cost today. A silver dollar would also buy 50 pounds of flour, 60 pounds of potato, 10 quarts of milk, five pounds of butter and two pounds of sugar. If only we enjoyed the same spending power today :)

The United States Mint

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

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The United States Mint was established on April 2, 1792, by the Unites States Congress through the Coinageunited states mint Act of 1792. The United States Mint building is said to be the first structure built under the Unites States Constitution and continues to hold this location in Philadelphia, which was also the capital of the republic back then. This historical building was also appropriately called “Ye Olde Mint”. The United States Mint comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Treasury and is fully backed by the Treasurer of the United States.

The first director of the United States Mint was David Rittenhouse, a well renowned American astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, scientific instrument craftsman, and public official. Henry Voigt, who is credited with some of the first designs on the United States coinage, was employed by the Treasury to be the Mint’s first Superintendent and Chief Coiner. One of the most critical positions at the Mint is that of the Chief Engraver, which was held by such acclaimed men, among others being Frank Gasparro, William Barber, Charles E. Barber, James B. Longacre, Christian Gobrecht, and Anthony C. Paquet. The current director of the Mint is Edmund C. Moy.

The main objective of the United States Mint is to supply sufficient amounts of coinage for ease of trade and commerce in the United States. The Mint currently churns out an average of fifteen billion coins annually. Its other responsibilities include dispensing United States coinage to the Federal Reserve banks and its subsequent divisions, maintaining the physical charge and securing the country’s one hundred billion dollars worth of gold and silver holdings, the minting of proof, uncirculated, commemorative coins, and medals to be sold to public, producing and selling all United States platinum, gold, and silver bullion coins, and last but not least administering its other minting locations in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; West Point, New York; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California; and Fort Knox, Kentucky, where the United States Bullion Depository is currently situated. Both the Denver and Philadelphia Mints is known to produce up to 65 million to 80 million coins per-day!

united states mintThere were several other Mints that was set up in the mid-nineteenth century by the Treasury Department which are no longer operational today. These Mints were located in Charlotte, North Carolina; Dahlonega, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Carson City, Nevada, respectively. Some say that apart from the end of the Civil War, these Mints ceased its operations because of the drying up of precious metals like gold and silver, around these areas. Another prominent Mint was set up in Manila, Philippines, in 1920. This is the only US mint established outside of the Continental United States which was in charge of minting coins for the colony, and all coins struck at this mint would bear the M mintmark, for Manila. The Manila Mint closed down in 1941, during the initial stages of the second World War.

Today, the United States Mint receives more than one billion dollars in revenues, each year, and as a self-financed organization, its net profits are handed over to the General Fund of the Treasury. The Mint prides itself in propagating world-class business practices in producing, selling, and protecting the coinage and assets of the United States of America.

Coins of the US Dollar

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

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dollar coinsThe United States coinage have come a long way and has earned a permanent place in the nation’s currency system. These coins have been produced every year since 1792, when it was first minted by the new republic. Today these coins are churned out by the United States Mint and distributed to the Federal Reserve Banks for regulation as required by the financial systems. Denominations of the US coinage which is still in circulation today are 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 25 cent, 50 cent, and one dollar.

The four US Mints that operates today in the United States, producing billions of coins annually, are the Philadelphia Mint which produces circulating coinage, mint sets and some commemorative coins, the San Francisco Mint which produces regular and silver proof coinage, the West Point Mint which produces bullion coinage as well as proofs, and the Denver Mint which like the Philadelphia Mint also produces circulating coinage, mint sets and commemorative coins. The Philadelphia and Denver Mints produces the dies used at all of these mints respectively.

To identify the mint on a coin, all one has to do is look at the mint mark imprinted on the front side of it. This is usually in the form of a letter, for example, the P is assigned to Philadelphia coins, the letter D to Denver coins, S for San Francisco coins, and W for West Point. The Philadelphia Mint also produces unmarked coins. It is also acknowledged that coins bearing the letter S and W are ever hardly found in circulation anymore, with the exception of some S series that was minted before mid-1970’s. Coins bearing the letters CC was also produced for a period of time, although short lived. These coins were said to have originated from a temporary mint in Carson City, Nevada, but can only be found in museums and private collections these days.

The current copper plated zinc core cents of today are the result of a change in its mass and composition in 1982. In 1943, cents minted were struck on planchets punched from zinc coated steel. These steel pennies, as it was more commonly known as, would rust quite easily due to the oxidation of the steel coats, and was later discontinued and destroyed. Nickels minted from the years 1942 through 1945, during World War II, were made out of 56 percent copper, 35 percent silver, and 9 percent manganese. This new composition would mean that the metal that was once used to coat these coins can now be put to better use, like manufacturing military supplies to help aid the war.

Prior to 1965, some of the other makes of US coinage included large amount of silver and copper in its composition. These coins are no longer produced or circulated today, thanks to the Coinage Act of 1965. It is estimated that most American prefer using coins in the form of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, as opposed to dollar coins such as the Kennedy half-dollar coin, Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, and the Sacagawea dollar coin.

Bullion coins have been produced since the year 1986 and remains uncirculated to date. Since 1997, these bullion coins, such as the American Eagle and the American Buffalo, can be found in silver, gold, and platinum versions. Other types of coins that have been minted to date are the modern commemorative coins, such as the half dollar and the half eagle, which have been minted since 1982.

Not surprisingly, numerous coins that have been struck throughout history have also gone obsolete today. These are the half cent, large cent, two-cent piece, three-cent piece, half dime, twenty-cent piece, silver dollar, gold dollar, quarter-eagle, three-dollar piece, Stella, half-eagle, eagle, double eagle, and the half-union. These coins, however, remains of high face value to collectors all around the globe.

The Presidential $1 Coin Program

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

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us 1 dollar coinsThe US Presidential $1 Coin Program, which began in January 2007, was initiated in tribute to the former Presidents of the United States of America. The program basically regulates the production of $1 coins with portraits of former U.S. Presidents, impressed on its obverse side, by the United States Mint.

The issuance of these coins will feature the depiction of four separate US Presidents on an annual basis, one design every quarter, until every eligible president is honored. The Act of Congress, Pub.L. 109-145, 119 Stat. 2664, enacted 2005-12-22, states that in order for a president to be honored, the former president must have been dead for at least two years before the issue, in order of eligibility. The George Washington Presidential $1 Coin was first issued on February 15, 2007, just in time for the President’s Day which is celebrated on February 19th.

Although it may seem that, given the statute, it would take approximately 11 years for the program to depict all 40 over presidents to date, if so, the program will not be able to feature all US presidents by the end of its course, because of its terms of eligibility.

As for the reverse side of these coins, the impression of the Statue of Liberty, the “$1” sign, and the words “United States of America” will be a permanent fixture. The legends E Pluribus Unum and In God We Trust, along with the year of minting and the mint mark will adorn the edges of these coins.

It is said that in February 2007, at least 50,000 coins were released without these inscriptions on the reverse side of the George Washington Presidential $1 Coins. This simple yet interesting error resulted in these coins being referred to as the “Godless dollars”, because of the missing “In God we trust” inscription. These coins have been known to fetch between $40 to $600 dollars amongst coin collectors all around the world.

Although it was not specified anywhere in the act what the color of these coins should be, it was consented by the US Mint that the specification be similar of that to the existing Golden dollar.

The Presidential $1 Coin Program was predominantly introduced to replace the Sacagawea $1 coin, which failed to garner enough interest in the United States. The program also recognized the need of $1 coins in the private sector and hoped that the change in design would increase public demand for these coins, just as the recent success of the US States Quarters program did.

Apart from educating the public on the history of our presidents, US Mint was also determined that these coins would create enough interest amongst collectors, just as it did with the State Quarters which was said to have generated almost $5 billion dollars in seigniorage.

Following the Presidential $1 Coin Program, the nation is also honoring the former first ladies by issuing $10 gold coins under the First Spouses Program. These coins will feature the images of all former first spouses, by order of term served, and will be issued to coincide with their respective $1 Presidential coins. I wonder what happens when they have to produce a spouseless president’s coin ;)

Designs On US Dollar Coinage

Friday, September 26th, 2008

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coinsDollar coins have had as colorful of a history as any paper currency here in the United States. It has, throughout time and again, been minted in various metal elements, which includes gold, silver, copper-nickel, and manganese-brass.

The first dollar coin minted back in 1974 was made out of silver. The minting of this silver dollar continued steadily until 1935, although it is said that its production was temporarily ceased between 1803 and 1836. Seven different designs were listed to have graced the dollar coin throughout this period and these are the Flowing Hair from 1794 to 1795, the Draped Bust from 1795 to 1803, the Gobrecht Dollar from 1836 to 1839, the Seated Liberty from 1840 to 1873, the Trade Dollar from 1873 to 1878, the Morgan Dollar from 1878 to 1921, and the Peace Dollar from 1921 to 1935.

Gold dollar coins, that was made out of 90 percent pure gold, were produced from 1849 to 1889. The decision to mint gold dollar is said to be credited to the gold rush period of the 1840’s. Because of its worth, the gold dollar is the smallest coin ever produced in the United States to date. The gold dollar coin spanned three periods of design stages, the first being the Liberty Head from 1849 to 1854, the Small Indian Head from 1854 to 1856, and the Large Indian Head from 1856 to 1889. It is also said that although gold dollar coins were no longer minted after 1889, several issues were struck in 1915 and 1922 to commemorate the Panama Canal and U.S. Grant respectively, and continued to circulate until the abandonment of the gold standard in the 1930’s.

The next phase in the United States coinage was the copper-nickel clad dollar coins, a period which spanned from 1971 to 1999. Designs on this variety of mint includes the Eisenhower Dollar from 1971 to 1978, the Eisenhower Bicentennial from 1975 to 1976, and the Anthony Dollar from 1979 to 1999. The Anthony Dollar or also cynically known as the “Carter quarters”, due to the poor performance of the dollar during President Jimmy Carter’s term, was minted in tribute to Susan B. Anthony, an important American civil rights leader of the 19th century.

In the year 2000, the Sacagawea Dollar series took birth and it still remains one third of all coins produced to date. The only other design of coinage that is of legal tender is the Presidential Dollar Coin Program, which was introduced in 2007.

The program was initiated to commemorate the former Presidents of the United States and it was decided that four new engraved relief portraits of them be minted each year, in sequential order by term served in office. The Statue of Liberty is engraved on its reverse, along with the inscription “$1 and the words “United States of America”. Presidents that have adorned the coins so far are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Martin Van Buren, the latter being released this coming November.

If this program should continue to depict all of our Presidents, George W. Bush would adorn the dollar coin in 2016. Cant wait!